Glossy Vs. Matte: Choosing the Best Finish for Your Metal Print

Glossy Vs. Matte: Choosing the Best Finish for Your Metal Print

You’ve seen those stunning metal prints, right? The ones that make your favourite photos or artwork come alive with vibrant colours and luxurious finishes. But when it comes to choosing between a glossy or matte finish, do you know which one is best for your masterpiece? We’ll help you navigate the great debate of metal prints glossy vs matte, so you can make an informed decision and display your images in the most captivating way possible.

In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the world of metal prints, comparing glossy and matte finishes in terms of color vibrancy, contrast, reflection, and glare. We’ll also discuss the ideal image types for each finish, display considerations such as lighting conditions and framing options, and how personal preferences and practicalities come into play when making your decision.

Key Takeaways

  • Metal prints come in glossy and matte finishes, each with their own unique look. 
  • Consider lighting conditions when deciding where to display your metal print as well as image type for the best finish. 
  • Personal preferences and practicalities should be taken into account when choosing between glossy or matte metal prints.

Understanding Metal Prints

A metal print with a glossy finish, printed on glossy metal photo panel

Metal prints are revolutionizing the way we display our artwork and fine art photography. With an image embedded directly onto metal through a heat-transfer process, metal photo prints offer a luxurious and durable option that leaves traditional printed photos and metallic photo paper in the dust.

But when it comes to choosing the perfect finish for your metal print, the decision between glossy vs matte can be a tough one.

Glossy Metal Prints

Imagine your favorite image with a highly reflective surface, where vibrant colors and a high-gloss finish make it pop like never before. That’s the magic of a glossy metal print. These prints catch the eye with their incredible color saturation and shine, thanks to the dye sublimation process used in their creation. Skin tones look amazing, and the crisp resolution of glossy metal prints is hard to beat. But with all that shine comes a potential downside - glare.

Matte Metal Prints

On the other hand, matte metal prints provide a more subtle and textured appearance for your images. With a flat finish and reduced glare, these prints offer a classic and elegant look, perfect for black and white photos or images with a lot of detail.

The matte photo finish not only reduces glare but also hides fingerprints and smudges better than glossy finishes, giving your image a soft and sophisticated touch. However, the colours in matte metal prints are not be as vibrant as those in glossy metal prints.

Comparing Glossy and Matte Metal Prints

A comparison of glossy and matte metal prints, showing the difference in colour vibrancy and contrast

Wondering which to select? A comparison of glossy and matte metal prints across aspects like color vibrancy, contrast, reflection, and glare can guide your choice. Acknowledging the pros and cons of each finish will simplify your decision-making process.

The photo above shows a gloss metal finish on the left and a matte metal finish on the right. The gloss finish displays rich, vibrant colours and deep contrast compared to the more subdued matte finish.

Color Vibrancy and Contrast

A glossy metal print with vibrant colours and sharp details

The glossy finish of metal prints has a higher reflectivity, which helps make the colors appear more saturated and intense. Combine this with the fact that glossy metal prints offer more vibrant colours and higher contrast, and you have a recipe for a truly eye-catching piece of art.

On the flip side, matte metal prints provide a more subdued and natural look, with less light reflection and glare. This can be ideal for certain images, especially those with subtle tones or textures. Think bright fall colours for gloss and soft misty morning for matte.

Glossy metal prints have a lot of contrast with deep blacks and lots of shadow detail whereas the matte metal finish has softer contrast with lighter blacks and less shadow detail. Always take into consideration the subject matter of your image when trying to decide which finish is best.

Reflection and Glare

A matte metal print with no glare and low contrast

While the glossy finish of metal prints can create stunning colours and contrasts, it can also produce glare and reflections in areas with lots of ambient light. Depending on the lighting conditions and the angle of light, these reflections can become problematic, affecting image quality and the viewing experience.

Matte metal prints, however, minimize these issues, thanks to their soft, satin-like surface. The non-reflective surface of matte prints makes them a great choice for displaying in sunny rooms or near windows.

For an optimal viewing experience, it is always recommended to illuminate your metal print with gallery-style lighting. This approach not only eliminates reflections but also enhances the overall display of your print.

Ideal Image Types for Each Finish

A glossy metal print

What kind of images best complement glossy and matte metal prints? Taking into account variables like color, contrast, and subject matter, we can identify the most suitable image types for each finish.

Glossy Finish

A black and white glossy metal print, printed on glossy photo panel

Glossy finish is an excellent choice for images with bright and vibrant colours, as well as those that deep blacks and lots of shadow details. The reflective surface of glossy metal prints enhances the colours and contrast, making the image more vivid and vibrant. Skin tones look amazing, and the overall effect is a luxurious, eye-catching piece of art.

Matte Finish

A black and white matte metal print, printed on matte photo panel

Matte finish, on the other hand, is better suited for black and white images, still life, and images with low contrast and a lot of texture or subtle gradients. The flat finish of matte metal prints brings out the tones and textures of the image, giving it a sophisticated and timeless appearance. Additionally, the matte surface of the matte finish helps reduce glare and is less likely to be affected by fingerprints.

Display Considerations

A grouping of metal prints

Equipped with a clearer understanding of the distinctions between glossy and matte metal prints, you can now contemplate the best way to showcase your selected masterpiece. Elements like lighting conditions and choices for framing or mounting significantly influence your metal print’s visual appeal.

Lighting Conditions

A metal print in a well lit area

While glossy metal prints can look incredibly vibrant and eye-catching, they may not be the best choice for well-lit areas due to glare. To get the most out of your glossy metal print, consider displaying it in an area with controlled lighting conditions to minimize glare.

On the other hand, matte metal prints work well in a variety of lighting conditions, thanks to their non-reflective surface.

Framing and Mounting Options

An image showcasing the difference between glossy and matte metal prints, ideal for comparing metal prints glossy vs matte options for framing and mounting.

Different framing and mounting options can enhance the appearance of both glossy and matte metal prints. Some systems allow for easy interchangeability, giving you the flexibility to switch between different display options as needed. Whether you choose a classic frame, a sleek gallery mount, or a modern float frame, the right choice can make a significant impact on the overall look and feel of your metal print.


In conclusion, both glossy and matte metal prints have their unique characteristics and benefits. Glossy metal prints offer vibrant colours and high contrast, while matte metal prints provide a more subdued and natural look with reduced glare. The choice between the two finishes ultimately depends on your personal preferences and practical considerations, such as lighting conditions and the type of image being displayed.

So go ahead, give your favourite images the luxurious treatment they deserve with the perfect metal print finish. Whether you choose glossy or matte, your artwork is bound to make a statement and leave a lasting impression.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a gloss finish metal print?

A gloss finish metal print is a high-quality print of your image on metal with a glossy surface. It provides vibrant colours and a reflective, shiny appearance.

What is a matte finish metal print?

A matte finish metal print is also a high-quality metal print, but it has a non-reflective, flat surface. It reduces glare and provides a more subdued, elegant look.

What are the key differences between gloss and matte finish metal prints?

Glossy prints have a shiny, reflective surface, while matte prints have a non-reflective, flat surface.

Glossy prints typically have more vibrant colours and higher contrast, while matte prints offer a more subtle, muted appearance.

Glossy prints can show fingerprints and reflections more readily than matte prints.

What types of images are best suited for gloss finish metal prints?

Glossy prints are great for images with rich colors, high contrast, and a desire for a glossy, eye-catching appearance. They work well with landscapes, vibrant art, and photos with a lot of detail.

What types of images are best suited for matte finish metal prints?

Matte prints are ideal for images with softer colours, a desire for reduced glare, and a more understated, elegant look. They work well with portraits, black and white photos, and images with a focus on texture.

How do I clean gloss finish metal prints?

To clean gloss prints, use a soft, lint-free cloth to gently wipe away dust and smudges. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals to prevent scratching.

How do I clean matte finish metal prints?

Cleaning matte prints is similar to gloss prints. Use a soft cloth and gentle, non-abrasive cleaning products to remove dust or fingerprints.

Are metal prints suitable for outdoor use?

While metal prints are durable, prolonged exposure to the elements can cause fading or damage. It's best to display them indoors or in a protected outdoor area.

Are metal prints easy to hang?

Yes, most metal prints come with a hanging system, such as a float mount or standoffs, making them easy to hang on your wall. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper installation.

How long do metal prints typically last?

With proper care and indoor display, metal prints can last for decades without significant fading or deterioration.